US ramps up trade row with China, threatens new tariffs

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On Tuesday, the Office of the US Trade Representative proposed 10 percent tariffs on a list of 6,031 Chinese product lines.

Investors fear an escalating trade war between the world's two biggest economies could hit global growth.

Assuming that happens as planned, the Trump administration will have levied tariffs on over $100 billion in imports into the United States. But the new tariffs will not be imposed until later this summer, after a public comment period.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Washington did a thorough investigation to justify imposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports to compensate for the harm to the US economy caused by China's unfair trading practices, including theft or forced transfer of American technology. On Friday, Beijing retaliated with mirror measures against United States imports hours after Washington introduced 25 percent trade tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods.

He said last month: "China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology". These tactics include the outright theft of trade secrets, government subsidies to homegrown tech firms and demands that US and other foreign companies hand over technology if they want access to China's vast market.

"Tonight's announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach", Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement.

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Last week, Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded immediately with matching tariffs on the same amount of USA exports to China.

The president has repeatedly described his resort to tariffs - which are paid by American importers - as a lever to extract negotiating concessions from US trading partners.

America's trade war with China is back on.

China also seems to be projecting confidence that it can withstand political turmoil, said David Rank, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has supported Trump's tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, also criticized the administration's move. "Reliance on more and more taxes as a means to drive change is a high-risk strategy with USA importers and exporters at the heart". Since then, the president has said his administration could impose duties on virtually all Chinese imports into the US.

This dispute comes alongside the USA confrontation with other allies and major trading partners including Canada, Mexico and the European Union, for the steep tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum.